I wanted to have a homemade Christmas this year, making gifts for people instead of just buying gift cards or geeky presents. Not that I dislike getting gift cards or geeky stuff, but there’s something really personal about getting homemade presents. And so many of the things I love to make and bake have such personal meaning to me…. so I wanted to share that with others.
Last week I put up how we made apple butter in the crockpot, and today I thought I’d post about another family holiday tradition–hot, sweet pickles. Some folks call them Texas Christmas Pickles. Personally, I think they should be called Louisiana Anti-Vampire Pickles. And I’ll explain why…..
Louisiana Anti-Vampire Pickles
(also known as Texas Christmas Pickles)
1 gallon jar of whole dill pickles
1 4 lb. bag of sugar
4-5 oz. of Louisiana hot sauce (Tabasco brand is best)
1 whole head of garlic
How you make them
You don’t have to be exact. It can be a rough chop, but there’s a good chance people may end up eating them, so they shouldn’t be huge.
Put them in a bowl and set them aside. You’ll get to them later.
Don’t throw the gallon jar away because you’ll need it.
Making these pickles takes about three or four days. Just a head’s up so you know what you’re getting into.
Time to start layering
First put a layer of pickles on the bottom of the jar.
What I love about these pickles is they don’t have to be exact. Nothing really does. You sort of just dump everything into a jar and wait to see how it turns out.
Just make sure the bottom of the jar is covered.
After the sugar, put in some garlic.
Then drizzle in a tablespoon or two of hot sauce.
We recommend using the Tabasco brand hot sauce. We were trying to cut costs this year and bought an off brand…. And it’s fine. It’s just lacking some of that really wonderful bite that the name brand stuff has. So keep that in mind.
Then, repeat. You do this over and over until you have used all the hot sauce, all the sugar, all the garlic and all the pickles.
Once you have a gallon jar of pickles that looks something like this, then you put the lid on and make sure it’s on tight. And you set the jar in some part of your kitchen where it’s out of the way but still visible (so you don’t forget).
Then, starts the work. Let it sit like this for about 12 hours or so, and then turn it upside down. Again, make sure that lid is on tight, or you’ll have a horrible mess. Let it sit upside down for another 12 hours.
After that, you only need to turn it once a day. On the third or fourth day, all the sugar should be dissolved.
At this point, your pickles are done! Now it’s up to you how you want to handle them. Since we’re giving them as gifts, we decided to can them.
Now, we can’t water bath them, or the heat will cook them. But you can put them in cans and refrigerate them. They’ll keep in the fridge for a long time, even if they’re not sealed.
And there you have it. Sweet, spicy, crispy pickles! Also called Texas Christmas Pickles! But for our purposes, they are Louisiana Anti-Vampire pickles!
You can chop them up and put them in tuna or chicken salad. You can serve them with mozzarella cheese or white cheddar cheese. Or you can just eat them.
But however you serve them, just make sure to have some gum on hand–because your breath will drop a vampire.